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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Does not shift into gear after a night of cold(30 degree) weather

No this isn't the infamous no-reverse problem....not yet.

Situation...

After a cold(under 30 degrees) night alone. The car will start just fine in the morning, but does not seem to get into drive or reverse all the way. It does nothing when I let off the brake. Acts as if I'm in neutral. Happens in Reverse or Drive.

It does however move ever so slowly if I hammer on the gas to about 5000 rpm. After about 30 seconds of driving like this it will start driving normal for the most part. For about another 5 minutes it will have have hesitation during shifting. After that 5 minutes the car is completely normal for the rest of the day.

Any thoughts or suggestions? I have an appointment to bring it in to the dealer in a couple days. I'm hoping to have the problem fixed before then and avoid shoveling money to the dealer.

Thanks for any help.

CAR INFO...

2001 325 XI
AUTOMATIC w/ Steptronic
60,000 miles
 

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Freedom isn't free!!
2018 Glacier Silver 340i M Sport
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There is a known design factor with the E46 steptronic transmission; it is designed for about a one minute warm up on a completely cold start to give time for the transmission fluid to build adequate pressure. Many folks notice their step is slow to engage forward motion when they first put it into gear after a cold start.

I put my car in M1 as soon as I start it, with my foot on the brake, as I wait for my garage door to open. Then after I back to the end of my driveway I put it in Drive and pull forward a few feet to make sure the transmission fluid pressure is adequate. I then back out of the driveway and go on my way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There is a known design factor with the E46 steptronic transmission; it is designed for about a one minute warm up on a completely cold start to give time for the transmission fluid to build adequate pressure. Many folks notice their step is slow to engage forward motion when they first put it into gear after a cold start.

I put my car in M1 as soon as I start it, with my foot on the brake, as I wait for my garage door to open. Then after I back to the end of my driveway I put it in Drive and pull forward a few feet to make sure the transmission fluid pressure is adequate. I then back out of the driveway and go on my way.
I let it warm up for 10 minutes today. I then put the car in M1 with my foot on the brake for 30 seconds or so. Still nothing. I continued to just let it wait with my foot on the brake for another few minutes. Still nothing. I don't think it's the same problem you are speaking of. Thanks for the quick reply and advice.

Thanks for caring about the well being of my car Tangent. No worries, I've been letting the car warm up for about 10 minutes and reving it to about 3000 rpm to get it going in the morning. Still not great for the car, but I gotta get to work.

Heading to the dealer tomorrow. I'll keep you all updated.
 

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e46 325i 4 door 2003 with steptronic automatic.
delayed engagement from park to drive is a known issue after prolonged parking..over 6 to 8 hours.
there is a program update from dealer that will charge you about 1.5 hours labor ($) that helped with delayed engagement..
basically i noticed that this program update increased the rpm at cold start-up and reduced the the delay..
what i find that help much more after the update was the use of "LUCAS transmission fix" i pumped one bottle directly into the transmission..
this reduced the delay to zero or almost zero unless car is parked for for than 2 days..then delay is a few seconds. (2 to 3)
the official word if you do a google is "unfavorable tolerance in the C1 clutch housing"
i think/my guess is that a problem in building up pressure exist do to some internal seal.
IF you do the lucas thing make sure to understand how to deal with your automatic..basically do a search..
care was out of warranty and when this started about 54,000 miles..it now has over 74,000...so about 20,000 miles with the one lucas bottle.
some others have reported change-out of fluid..my fluid was very clean when this happened and felt very,very thin ...i did not change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RESOLUTION.....


This is what came from the tech.

" Low fluid due to leak from electronic plug in rear of trans. Some damage to clutch in trans may have occurred due to low fluid level.
Check fluid some chunks and burnt smell. "

So they filled it and I can come back if it reoccurs. For $250 they will put on a new O-Ring. Hope this helps anyone else with this problem.

So a couple days with it...so far so good. I'll let you guys know if anything else happens.

p.s. it was $170 to have the diagnosis and filling of fluid....PAID by the Stealer...poor communication + no authorization to do anything beyond a diagnosis + talk to the manager = FREE!

Thanks again for all your info and suggestions.
 

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RESOLUTION.....

This is what came from the tech.

" Low fluid due to leak from electronic plug in rear of trans. Some damage to clutch in trans may have occurred due to low fluid level.
Check fluid some chunks and burnt smell. "

So they filled it and I can come back if it reoccurs. For $250 they will put on a new O-Ring. Hope this helps anyone else with this problem.

So a couple days with it...so far so good. I'll let you guys know if anything else happens.

p.s. it was $170 to have the diagnosis and filling of fluid....PAID by the Stealer...poor communication + no authorization to do anything beyond a diagnosis + talk to the manager = FREE!

Thanks again for all your info and suggestions.
same thing happened to me u probbably had low fluid what happened to me was i parked on top on some snow in 2004 overnight then the next morning when i turned the car on all the tranny fluid came out from the top of the blowhole some type of valve that expels tranny fluid when too much pressure occurs i guess the filter froze and didnt allow the fluid to flow so it just came out of the top blowvalve completely emptying the fluid from the tranny now what happened to u was maybe the fluid had to get hot enough to expand because when tranny fluid heats up it does expand therefore taking up for the fliud u were low on that was 4 years ago i changed the filter and fluid back then and til this day no problems
 

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RESOLUTION.....

This is what came from the tech.

" Low fluid due to leak from electronic plug in rear of trans. Some damage to clutch in trans may have occurred due to low fluid level.
Check fluid some chunks and burnt smell. "

So they filled it and I can come back if it reoccurs. For $250 they will put on a new O-Ring. Hope this helps anyone else with this problem.

So a couple days with it...so far so good. I'll let you guys know if anything else happens.

p.s. it was $170 to have the diagnosis and filling of fluid....PAID by the Stealer...poor communication + no authorization to do anything beyond a diagnosis + talk to the manager = FREE!

Thanks again for all your info and suggestions.
did u get the specific bmw tranny fluid its very expensive like $22 dollars a quart its not normal tranny fluid
 

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I'm bumping this older conversation. I am having the exact same issue on my 2004...started around 54K miles as well. Did an ATF flush and the problem persists. I am curious if others have tried the LUCAS transmission fix. Since my AT doesn't seem to be losing fluid or leaking, will this help me? I don't want to overfill the AT by adding fluid either. Thoughts?

Anyone have an udpated solution?
 

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I'm bumping this older conversation. I am having the exact same issue on my 2004...started around 54K miles as well. Did an ATF flush and the problem persists. I am curious if others have tried the LUCAS transmission fix. Since my AT doesn't seem to be losing fluid or leaking, will this help me? I don't want to overfill the AT by adding fluid either. Thoughts?

Anyone have an udpated solution?
When you did the flush did you drop the pan and change the filter?

Have you had the transmission software update?
 

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Yes, I replaced the filter. I have not tried the software update yet. I will also do that.
Good. Did you perform the procedure or a trusted mechanic? I guess what I'm getting at is there any chance the tranny was under filled?

Is there a significant delay similar to what was described earlier in this thread? If so, there may be other issues you have. In this case it might be best to get an opinion from a trused independant or dealer.

Or is it more like a couple of seconds at most? This is the case that software update resolves.
 

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I do most of my own work, but I wasn't up to being under the car with the motor running to get the trans fluid to the right operating temperature.

Barry...I had this job done at Jaq's garage in Fargo. I've heard good things, but this is the first job I've had them do for me. Unfortunately, I cannot flash the ECU there...have to go to Bloomington.

Regarding levels...that was the first thing I was concerned with, but Jaq's said that the fluid levels were actually good...and pretty clean.
 

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I do most of my own work, but I wasn't up to being under the car with the motor running to get the trans fluid to the right operating temperature.

Barry...I had this job done at Jaq's garage in Fargo. I've heard good things, but this is the first job I've had them do for me. Unfortunately, I cannot flash the ECU there...have to go to Bloomington.

Regarding levels...that was the first thing I was concerned with, but Jaq's said that the fluid levels were actually good...and pretty clean.
Thanks Ken, I have an excellent mechanic here in town but same deal here.....he doesn't have any BMW specific equipment. I still haven't decided if and when I need a dealer whether I will go to The Cities or Sioux Falls. Both are close to the same distance and I've heard from one person who heard good things about Eide in SF but I'd think the dealers mechanics in The Cities would have more experience. I'll probably wait till spring and go to one of the 3 and get my car updated with the latest software.

Barry
 
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